Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not massage therapy is an effective treatment in improving sleep quality among women age 50-80 diagnosed with cancer.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of two English language randomized control trials published in 2004 and 2011 and one English language quasiexperimental pretest-posttest comparison study publishEd in 2002.

DATA SOURCES: Data sources were articles published in peer reviewed journals found using PubMed and EBSCOhost.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Sleep quality was measured using the Verran and Snyder-Halpem Sleep Scale and the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Soden et al and Jane et al found significant improvement in sleep scores pre- and post-intervention among the massage group but did not find significance between groups. In contrast, Smith et al did not find any within group significance pre- and post-intervention in the therapeutic massage group, but did find statistical significance between the two groups at post-intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: The results were inconclusive and conflicting. With contradicting studies and little significance between groups it is hard to draw conclusions as to whether massage therapy is effective in improving sleep quality among female cancer patients. Additional research is needed with larger sample sizes and stricter control to determine if massage therapy provides clinically significant improvement in sleep quality.